Saying ‘no’ is saying ‘yes’ to yourself – Mark MacLeod

September 3, 2020 - Mark MacLeod

Saying ‘no’ is saying ‘yes’ to yourself

The title of this post is a nugget I got from one of my clients. As with all too many CEOs, this person was overwhelmed with demands for his time. He has many stakeholders, and leads not just in his company, but in his startup community. Trying to stay on top of all these internal and external demands was trying.

This CEO is not alone. Far too many CEOs are run ragged trying to keep up with a never-ending, always-growing list of requests for their time.

If you are operating at the right altitude as a CEO, then you should actually have a relatively clear calendar focused on a small number of strategic priorities.

If this is not the case and your day is full of meetings and your evenings are full of email, perhaps some changes are needed.

For internal demands inside your company, I recommend taking what I call a barbell approach to time management: be involved at the beginning and end of a project to define success, align it to the vision and determine whether that success criteria was met. No need to be involved in any of the heavy lifting in the middle.

External demands can be trickier. Many startup founders have benefited greatly from the help of others along the way. So, they want to give back and pay it forward as well.

I get and admire this. But the best thing you can do for your startup community is build a successful company. Doing so will result in more hiring, more experience and insights to share when you do have more time, and hopefully lots of wealth to turn into new angel investments for the next cohort of founders coming out of your community.

Saying ‘no’ to others is truly saying ‘yes’ to yourself. It is only by doing this that you can create the space in your schedule and your brain to truly focus on your deliberate, intended strategic priorities.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

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